In June of 2009, a committee met at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to do a routine safety review of proposed research projects.
One of those projects involved genetically modifying flu viruses. And during the review, the committee brought up the idea of "dual-use" research. "Dual use" means legitimate scientific work that's intended to advance science or medicine, but that also might be misused with the intent to do harm.
In 1998, when Pope John Paul II made his historic visit to Cuba, few Cuban-Americans made the pilgrimage across the Florida straits.
But when Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Cuba on Monday, hundreds of Cuban-Americans will be on hand in Santiago de Cuba when he celebrates Mass.
Carlos Saladrigas is well-known in Miami's Cuban-American community. He's a prominent businessman and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group, an organization working to make Cuba a free and open society. He'll be in Antonio Maceo Revolution Square for Mass.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant he received Saturday at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
The operation makes Cheney among more than 2,300 Americans who get heart transplants every year.
Heart transplantation has come a long way since Christiaan Barnard stitched the heart of a young woman into the chest of a middle-aged man in South Africa in 1967. That transplant recipient died 18 days later. Today, recipients can expect to get a decade or more of life from their new hearts.
It's the hottest ticket in Washington, D.C. Even the flossiest lawyers in town can't get a seat. Senators, congressmen, Cabinet and White House officials are all vying for a place.
At the U.S. Supreme Court, people have been lining up for days, waiting to hear this week's historic oral arguments on President Obama's health care law. The arguments will last for six hours over a three-day period, the longest argument in more than 40 years.
Researchers haven't given much thought to the effect of noise and noise pollution on plants. After all, plants don't have ears — at least, not the kind you hear with — so there doesn't seem to be much point. But thanks to ecologist Clinton Francis, that could be about to change.
Francis is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. But he has spent the past few years in northwestern New Mexico, studying noise pollution in Rattlesnake Canyon.
When the U.S. Supreme Court hears challenges to the Obama administration's health care law this week, the arguments will be complex, with questions about states' rights, mandatory insurance, and Medicaid.
To introduce those concepts — and to give the rest of us something to do while the court hears six hours of arguments — we offer a word search game. The grid below features many words you'll likely hear this week, as NPR's Nina Totenberg reports from the court.
Posting on Facebook is an easy way to connect with people, but it also can be a means to alienate them. That can be particularly troublesome for those with low self-esteem.
People with poor self-image tend to view the glass as half empty. They complain a bit more than everyone else, and they often share their negative views and feelings when face to face with friends and acquaintances.
Free health clinics have long been places people turn to when they don't have health insurance or any money to pay for care. But the health law's expansion of coverage puts free clinics in uncharted territory.
While the law goes before the Supreme Court this week, health providers are already gearing up for a surge in patients with insurance.
Around the country, hundreds of free clinics have been established over the past 50 years to treat patients like Patsy Duarte.
In a busy New York subway station, a man serenades passersby with a beat-up guitar. A few of them look up from their BlackBerrys and toss a little change in his guitar case. It's a scene that plays out in subways and streets around the world.
The hooded sweatshirt has become an unlikely but potent symbol since the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Fox's Geraldo Riviera went so far as to say that wearing a hoodie might have contributed to Trayvon's death last month. But for the organizer of the "million hoodie march" in New York, and for many young black men in Florida, wearing a hooded sweatshirt has become a form of protest against racial profiling in the wake of Trayvon's shooting. NPR's Joel Rose reports.
Tomorrow morning the Supreme Court begins a three-may marathon of oral arguments challenging President Obama's landmark health care law, the Affordable Care Act. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host Laura Sullivan previews the arguments with NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. She also speaks to Mark Gross, owner of a professional line standing service, who is poised to have a lucrative week, and Jeff Rother of the National Coalition on Health Care walks us back through health reform's tempestuous path to the Supreme Court.
Author Luis Alberto Urrea reminds listeners that the deadline for Round 8 of Three-Minute Fiction is tonight, Sunday, March 25, at 11:59 p.m. ET. All submissions must be received by then to be considered a valid entry in the contest. The story must begin with the sentence: "She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door". As always, the story must be 600 words or less. To submit a story, go to npr.org/threeminutefiction.
An update now on a story we first told you about last spring. Bart Centre of New Hampshire claimed he was running a pet rescue business for animals in case they were left behind by owners during the rapture, or the end of times, as some Christians believe.
New York in the gilded age was a city of epic contrasts. Top-hatted swells in glossy carriages promenaded uptown, while just a few blocks south, poverty, crime and overcrowding were the order of the day.
And vice, let's not forget vice. New York was what was called a "wide-open" town, with gambling, prostitution and liquor available on almost every corner. The cops and the Democratic machine politicians of Tammany Hall mostly looked the other way — when they weren't actively involved.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering Sunday from a heart transplant he received at a Virginia hospital.
As NPR's Don Gonyea reported: "Cheney had been on a waiting list for a new heart for more than 20 months, ever since surgery in 2010 to install a pump and external battery to deal with was described as 'end stage heart failure.'"
A statement released Saturday by a Cheney aide said that the former vice president and his family do not know the donor's identity. The statement said the family will be "forever grateful for this lifesaving gift."
The newest album from the folk outfit Lost in the Trees is a very personal one. Ari Picker, the creative force behind the band, began writing the songs for A Church That Fits Our Needs after the death of his mother, Karen Shelton. She was an artist herself, one who struggled with mental illness throughout her life. In 2008, she killed herself.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has undergone a heart transplant in a hospital near Washington. Cheney, 71, was on the waiting list for a heart for 20 months, which is longer than the average wait time in the Washington area. His prognosis remains uncertain.
In NCAA men's basketball, the Louisville Cardinals and Ohio State Buckeyes have qualified for the Final Four. Later today, two more teams will join them after Kentucky plays Baylor and Kansas faces North Carolina. With so much basketball peppered with reversals and upsets, it's hard to deny the madness of March. But, as NPR's Mike Pesca reports, most coaches try desperately to keep it at bay.
Not one second of the six hours of arguments on the health care law will be either seen or heard in real time by anyone not at the Supreme Court. The nation's highest court has turned down requests to allow live broadcasts of this week's historic proceedings.
A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.
The preparations for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Cuba have produced some unusual sights and sounds there lately.
A church van with a megaphone drove around one Havana neighborhood recently, calling Cubans out of their homes to a gathering in a nearby park, with the message that God loves them.
The number of churchgoing Catholics on the island is growing again, but it remains less than 10 percent, and the call to gather was a rare exception to the Communist government's ban on public acts of religious proselytism.
The Russian boy sent back to his homeland by his adoptive U.S. mother two years ago might have finally gotten a break.
Torry Ann Hansen put Artyom Savelyev on a plane with a note saying he had "severe psychopathic issues" and she didn't want to be his parent any more. A Shelbyville, Tenn., court ordered her to pay child support this month.
Artyom's journey highlights the challenges both within Russia and between Russia and the United States over how to care for orphans.
Rick Santorum had been expected to win Louisiana's Republican presidential primary Saturday, but the size of the victory was a surprise. The former Pennsylvania senator captured 49 percent of the GOP vote. Mitt Romney, who is the front-runner nationally, finished a distant second with nearly 27 percent. Santorum sees his win as evidence that the party still has big doubts about Romney.
Among those who voted for Santorum was 54-year-old Curt Thurmon in Shreveport.
No state has worked harder to stop the federal health care overhaul than Florida. Hours after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law two years ago, Florida led 12 other states in a federal court challenge. Eventually, a total of 26 states signed on.
The Supreme Court will hear the case this week. Meanwhile, Florida's governor, Rick Scott, has rejected more than $35 million in federal grants to help the state prepare for the new federal program.
Originally published on Mon March 26, 2012 8:33 am
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to begin hearing oral arguments Monday in a Republican-led challenge to the national health care law that has convulsed the country and its political class for more than two years — and may well define President Obama's tenure in the White House.